Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My new assistant teacher is Deaf!

Sometimes the world just works out in my favor. I am so excited! I am a teacher in a small private school. We have a Waldorf inspired curriculum and I teach both English and ASL to the children. I love watching them proudly sign to me but it is always less than I want. You see I am the only adult with a staff of five that signs.

I work closely with an assistant teacher. The ideal candidate is punctual, great with children, and takes direction well. If the applicant has a music, arts or language background even better. Since jobs are scarce we get lots of applications. I find most people tend to not be straight forward with their resumes. A lot of people cold call knocking on the door to drop off a resume. We always send them away and tell them to contact us through our website.

One person we hired said she had four years of ASL. I did not interview her and her first day of work she was horrified when I initiated a conversation in sign. She couldn't join in and told me she was "rusty". Others fail to show up on time or get irritated with the children. Often it feels like they are just there for a paycheck. I love teaching and want to work with someone who also enjoys it.

When we hire for this position we always ask if they know a second language. They all say yes and when we get them in class I notice the second language is usually scattered vocabulary and I have to prompt them to use it. My dream has always been to get someone fluent in ASL.

Well that is no longer a dream. Monday I was teaching class and my boss walked in and asked me to meet someone standing outside. This never happens. We never interrupt class. She tells me there is a deaf woman outside looking for work and she wants me to go meet her. I am confused but go out to meet her.

What follows made my day. She was raised oral but learned to sign when she was nineteen. She was very comfortable and presented herself as friendly. I could see she was talking to me like a hearing person who was clueless so I told her my son was Deaf.
Of course that opened the gate and we chatted about schools and her childhood. I didn't ask about being raised oral but she offered up she was frustrated her parents didn't sign. We sat and chatted for a long time I felt like I had known her for years. She was not trying to impress me or show off her skills. I like that.

When I went back to class I was bummed because we didn't have an opening for her. My boss asked me what I thought and before I could respond she told me she loves her and wanted to have her come back for a work interview. We didn't have a job for her though. Did I mention I am excited?

We invited her to come visit class the next day to see if she was interested down the line. We never do that. We just all liked her so much we wanted to check out if she fit in. Well everyone loved her. The children, parents and of course us.

This morning on my way to work I get a call from my boss. Our assistant teacher slept in and was going to be late again. She wanted to know if I would text the woman we all wanted to have her come in instead. I sent her a text at 8:04, she replied at 8:06, I arrived at work at 8:45 and she was already there! Today was awesome. She is perfect and her ASL is beautiful.Her personality is just right for our school. The kids love her and are excited to us their sign. The get to watch us chat so they will learn so much faster.

During circle time I introduced her and told them she was deaf. We showed them how they need to look at her when they talk to her and try and use their ASL. They were very quiet and I asked if they had questions. Nope. So I asked her if she had a dog. No she tells us about her cat. Then they relaxed and the first question was,

"Do you have a basement?"

The other assistant lost her job today because she couldn't show up on time. Third time is three weeks and three sick days in the same time frame. So now we have a new assistant teacher and she is Deaf.

So blissed out preschool is the theme of the day.

Here are some things she did to rise above the other applicants.

1. She researched on the Internet to find us. She read about the program so she was prepared.

2. She brought a resume that was concise and factual. She also had reference letters ready if we needed them.

3. She emailed me to thank me for seeing her. She also emailed to thank us for letting her come do a work interview. Nice touch and we don't see that often if ever.

4. She was not trying to put on a show to get the job. She was friendly and interviewed well.

5. She really wanted this job. It wasn't a feeling of just trying to get any job to pay the rent.

We would have also hired her if she was hearing.


  1. Awesome! I am excited for you and the children. :) I can't wait to hear more about her. Your school sounds great. I have always been interested in the the Waldorf curriculum. If there are any positions open let me know, for I may be out of work next year thanks to budget cuts.


  2. Hee hee I just did a job search for you. There is an opening near me for a d/hh teacher. Two others at the state school where I live for math and ASL specialist.

  3. Thanks! I want to give you a hug. :)

  4. (e back at you!

    Oh please tell me to not comment on this from your post. *Mel sits on her hands*

    "Do they allow deaf people to be special education teachers? Or does it require good communication skills to help these kids."

  5. Thanks Butterfly Mama! I am so excited!

  6. This is such a cool story of how things work out.

  7. awesome! i believe that when something good goes around, comes here ya go, it's coming around! ;)

  8. Yay! Here's to awesome finds and being found by awesome people! Also, your students are sooooooo lucky!